Since it’s less than a week to my birthday, I thought I’ll do a travel throwback. I celebrated my 21st birthday with university friends and it was pretty awesome. For the past few days, we have been laughing and reminiscing about our short trip to Marrakesh, Morocco. Marrakesh is such a vibrant city with beautiful architecture, delicious food and a recurring theme of colour, culture and community.
We stayed at the stunning Blue Sea Marrakech Ryads Parc & Spa for 4 nights.
Sunrise vs Sunset
We began our holiday by exploring, shopping and walking through the busy streets of Medina, while attempting our haggling skills. Wandering through the different souks as well as a spice souk tour.
Some of the landmarks we visited were Jemaa el-Fnaa and Koutoubia Mosque. Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakesh’s main square is where you experience the hustle and bustle of the city with many people stopping by to be entertained by snake charmers, storytellers and dancers. You can also purchase the best freshly squashed orange juice I have ever tasted and got some lovely henna done.
Wearing the traditional jellaba and turban while camel riding in the desert. We were also fed with lunch and Maghrebi mint tea courtesy of the friendly Berber locals.
Our last few days were spent travelling to Ourika, dangerously hiking through Ourika valley to see Seven waterfalls of Setti Fatma while spending time with more Berber locals. We also caught a view of the famous icy Atlas mountains.
We attempted to help make some argan oil but I must say just turning the mortar with a pestle is a workout itself.
Highlights of our trip were experiencing a true Arabian night by enjoying a traditional 5-course meal at the spectacular Chez Ali restaurant while entertained by various folklore troupes, musicians and belly dancers. As our final evening progressed, we sat around a sand arena to watch electrifying displays of tribal horsemen and a rifle shows, fire-eaters, acrobats, fireworks display and concluded with a breathtaking flying carpet act. I would happily visit again as we were unable to visit some places like the Jardin Majorelle and try a traditional hammam bath due to lack of time.
My top tips and advice:
- Always haggle for a better price! The first price is never the real price.
- Be warned, although we travelled as a big group we were still constantly hassled and catcalled (some local men even called us Serena Williams and Rihanna lol) so just ignore and keep it moving.
- Although the official language of Morocco is Arabic, many of the locals do speak French so it may be helpful to brush up on some basic French beforehand if communicating in English fails lol.
- If you are travelling to Marrakesh around this season of the year, be sure to bring some warm clothing as it does get really cold especially in the evenings.
- If you are prone to allergic reactions, bring your medication with you as may be allergic to henna ink and the dust.
- If you are planning any excursions and tours, I would suggest booking online as this normally relatively cheaper than booking with hotels.
- It will also be best to convert enough money at the airport and bring some extra cash to change at bureaus in the city centre as the exchange rate is normally lower in the city centre.
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